RevSportz World Health Day Conclave 

World Health Day Conclave

-Sharmistha Gooptu 

April 7 marks World Health Day, and this year’s theme as notified by WHO is ‘My Health, My Right’ which focuses on the fundamental human right of access to quality health care, education and information. Keeping this theme in mind, RevSportz will broadcast a health conclave through the day, starting at 9am and carrying interviews with leading athletes. 

Presented by Bharat Serum and Vaccines Ltd and Federal Bank, the conclave has interviews with para-badminton champion Manasi Joshi, badminton national coach Pullela Gopichand, former chess world champion Viswanathan Anand, Indian women’s hockey team captain Savita Punia and track and field champion Jyothi Yarraji. 

Manasi spoke to RevSportz about issues of women’s health, and how she as a young woman fought a battle for inclusivity within her own family. Manasi carries forward that campaign as a champion para athlete when she speaks about society’s acceptance of women’s bodies and their physiological and mental health. For instance, she mentioned that women’s approach to intermittent fasting should be different from men’s because their bodies are on monthly cycles on account of menstruation. The physiological ups and downs that women face on account of their hormonal cycles need to be better acknowledged and addressed,  and the first step for a large majority of young women and girls in a country like India remains health education and information – something which today’s conclave aims to foster and advance.

Gopichand spoke of the ACL tear he had early in his career, and how, given the lack of information and adequate health counselling within the existing sports ecosystem at that point, he had turned to the ancient systems of yoga. From yoga, he had imbibed the philosophies of mindfulness and meditation (yoga nidra), applying them to his own process of recovery. 

Such philosophies and techniques have emerged as increasingly relevant in the post-pandemic world, as mental wellness and mindfulness is now increasingly linked to physical health and well-being. 

Among others, Anand spoke about the athlete’s source of succour in his family and the importance of having a supportive home environment. For Anand, it remains a personal choice of the athlete about how much he or she would like to open up publicly about health issues or mental health challenges, indirectly pointing us to an athlete’s prerogative of privacy. 

Openness and privacy both constitute aspects of mental health, as this conclave highlights in keeping with WHO’s theme – My Health, My Right. Open conversation, education and information about health – women’s and mental health in particular –

remains the first step to the goal of quality health care.

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